“If ever there is tomorrow when we're not together.. there is something you must always remember. You are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think. But the most important thing is, even if we're apart.. I'll always be with you.”
~A.A. Milne, from "Winnie the Pooh"

Thursday, March 28, 2013

A Break From the Norm

This post won't be about Liddy. It won't really be about Down syndrome. It'll be a break from what this blog usually focuses on....simply because I feel strongly the need to put my two cents into an ongoing debate that is the focus of a whole lot of attention this week...and will continue to be in the coming weeks, and even possibly months. Gay marriage. I'm sure that I don't have a lot to say that hasn't been said already (and more than likely somewhere with much wider readership than my own humble blog) but I DO feel that it still needs to be said.
I am a heterosexual woman. I consider myself to be a Christian, despite the fact that I don't currently attend church. I was raised in the church and while I may not know everything about the Bible, I do know enough to get by and to try to live according to God's will. Not that I always live a Godly life. I sin. I make mistakes. I am forced to ask for God's forgiveness on a regular basis.
With all that being said, I wholeheartedly support gay marriage. It's probably not a subject that I had ever given much thought to before Liddy was born and if I had had a leaning one way or the other, I probably wouldn't have voiced it publicly. Before Liddy, I was sort of a coward, I'm ashamed to admit. A rock the boat sort of girl I have never been. However, the person I was before Liddy has been changed and the new person I have become simply can not and will not remain silent when I am faced with what I believe to be injustice and inequality.
Who am I to say that someone should not enjoy the rights I myself enjoy or the rights that I fight so hard for for my daughter because they were born with a different sexual preference than I myself was? How can I not openly embrace the couples I know who are loving and deeply committed to each other, who accept others for who they are without question? And how can I, as a self proclaimed Christian, declare them as sinners unworthy of compassion, acceptance and love?
So while I see the divide grow, even within our Down syndrome community, I can't help but ask myself..."How does this happen?" How does the same group of individuals who fight so hard for their own children's inclusion, acceptance, and basic human rights turn their backs on another group of people who are only asking for the same thing? Because, in essence, that is PRECISELY what is happening when someone declares their aversion to everyone being treated equally.
"The Bible says that homosexuality is an abomination." I hear you. The Bible also says that anyone who eats the fat of an animal should be cut off from their people, any one who blasphemes the name of the Lord should be put to death, we shouldn't eat beef, or cut our hair, or wear clothing woven of different fabrics. More importantly, it says that we should love our neighbors as ourselves, leave the judgement to God and forgive the sins of others, just as they forgive us of our own. So where do we get off proclaiming to be Christian, yet acting so very un-Christ-like? I'm pretty sure that Jesus would be highly disappointed in some of His people right now.
"Let he who is without sin cast the first stone." Hmmm. So who here is capable of casting that first stone? I know for sure it's not me. And I am pretty positive it's probably not you either.
So can we all just agree to disagree, if that is the case, and let others live their lives as they so choose? Can we let them marry who they wish, whether we condone it or not? Because in my opinion, we're all just people searching for happiness and personal fulfillment. Most of us want a better world for our kids to grow up in. A whole lot of us fight tooth and nail for our kids to have the same rights that "typical" people do.And I would bet solid money that if someone tried to make a law that said kids with Ds could never get married, all Hell would break loose. I know I'd be right there fighting for all I was worth. Which is why I'm throwing my hat into THIS fight as well. These people who want nothing more than to get married are someone's children, someone's sisters and someone's brothers. Someday it might be YOUR child. And don't we all deep down just want our kids to be happy?

Spread love, not hate. Because the world could really use a whole lot more of one and a whole lot less of the other.......

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Who We Are- WDSD 2013

When we started this journey 2 and 1/2 years ago, we had no idea what to expect. Our firsthand knowledge about Down syndrome was limited at best and everywhere we turned, we heard more negatives than positives. We didn't reach out to the Ds community (in fact, I'm pretty sure that we had little idea that such a large community even existed!). We moved through the days remaining before Liddy's birth in a fog, never knowing that love and support was as close as reaching out through our computer screens.
2 years ago, on March 21st, 2011, everything changed for us. As I haltingly, hesitantly made my way through what seemed like thousands of posts, I cried a whole lot. And something more...those posts celebrating kids and adults who shared an extra chromosome with my Liddy showed me a whole new world existed that I never dreamed of. I opened my heart, my mind and my arms to a whole new family.
Over the last two years, I have grown to dearly love this worldwide family. There have been so many times that I don't know how I would have made it through that first year without them.We HAVE a support system, a loving family and truly amazing friends, yet somehow having friends who have walked in your shoes and have paved the way for you gives you courage and strength that you didn't know you had. The difference between those first bumbling steps into the Ds world to the confident strides we now walk with are in part largely due to these amazing ladies and gents who have shown us the way......

So who are we today? We are an average family who has faced what to some seem like extraordinary challenges. We are battle scarred, yet those scars add to our beauty, not detract away from it. We are stronger than we could have ever imagined we could be. We have faced the darkest days we could have dreamed of two and a half years ago and emerged into the light again, more confident, more faithful, more dedicated, more amazing than ever before. We have realized that the dreams we had for Liddy are still achievable, still within our grasp, and that she is perfectly capable of becoming whoever she sets her mind to be. We are more in love with our daughter, our sister, our grandchild, our niece, and our cousin than we could have ever believed was possible. We are inspired by her determination, her grace, and her inner beauty on a daily basis. This girl SHINES.

Who is Liddy? Well, that answer is a little more complicated. ;) She is a fanny shaking, finger snapping, car dancing angel. She is a sassy and sweet princess who never lets you forget for a single moment that SHE rules this household and has all of its occupants wrapped around her tiny crooked pinky. She is a little sister totally enraptured with her big brothers (and totally captivating to them as well). She is bubbly, and spunky, and stubborn. She is the very sunshine on a cloudy day. She is giggles and grins, pouty lips and crocodile tears. She is belly laughs and silliness. She is typical two year old attitude coupled with sweet baby loving. In essence, the light of our lives. :)
Happy World Down syndrome Day! Looking forward to a lifetime of celebrating the tiny package of dynamite we named Lydia Anne.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

A Glimpse Two Years Later.....

I have slacked off on blogging badly over the last several months. It would be an adequate (and forgivable) excuse to claim that I simply don't have the time (or energy) to sit down at the keys of my computer and pour my soul out to the world at large nowadays but the real reason is that I find myself sitting here without the inspiration TO pour my soul out. Not that I fail to find inspiration daily in my daughter, or that I love her even a smidgeon less today than I did during all those nearly forgotten days of writing her love letters. Neither of those is true either. But it's funny. The very thing that inspired me to start this blog is the very reason I find myself without words now.

 2 years in and Down syndrome, while still a part of who my daughter is, is the least of who she is. Our lives don't center around that extra chromosome like they did in the beginning. It just is and our lives...well, they have settled into just normalcy
Without the constant stream of doctor's appointments and tests, without the constant worry about an upcoming open heart surgery, without the concern about what others think of her, we're just an average family with 2 active boys, a pregnant nursing student, and a crazy schedule chasing around a very normal two year old with a few developmental delays.  

 Its amazing to me looking back on those early days after just finding out that Liddy has Down syndrome how far we have come in so short a time. How far I have come, to be honest. There was a time not so long ago when I truly believed that nothing would ever be normal again. A time when all of my thoughts revolved around Down syndrome, when every time I looked at my daughter I searched for the signs of it written in the shape of her eyes, the bridge of her tiny nose, and her crinkle eyed smile. A time when I couldn't imagine how very proud of her I would be, how much she would inspire me, or how ridiculously smart she would be. Not so long ago, I was taken aback and struck speechless by the straggling few who looked at her and KNEW.
2 years later, I never see Down syndrome when I look at her. I just see my spunky, ornery, funny, intelligent, gorgeous daughter. My sweet Liddy. Take away that little extra chromosome? She wouldn't be the girl I love to distraction. She wouldn't be the bubbly girl who greets everyone with her cheery "hi". She wouldn't capture hearts with a flash of her heart stopping crinkle eye smile.Her orneriness wouldn't fill me with so much pride (haha it would just drive me crazy!). Her cuddly, pat you on the back hugs wouldn't be quite so treasured.

 Every day that passes I forget about Down syndrome just a little more and fall in love with the unique individual that is my child a whole LOT more.

I mean....seriously....how could I do anything less? 

So please forgive me if I lack the eloquence of my previous posts...or if my posts are few and far between nowadays. I'm chasing around a VERY inquisitive 2 year old....

...and frankly, just soaking up every minute of just being her mama. :)

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Big Changes.....

 There are big things going on in our house.....
Liddy is very very close to walking. She's into everything. She talks our heads off....and knows around 50 signs. 

 She gets cuter by the minute, I swear. And she knows it.

I'm entering the second 8 week stretch of my second semester of nursing school. Which just means I am super busy...a little stressed...and ready for the summer off......

Although its looking like there won't be a whole lot of down time this summer...and no beach time. Instead, we're going to welcoming a new addition.....

Say WHAT???

Meet Levi John.....who will be making his arrival sometime in early to mid-July....

So far things are looking great. He's a rocker and roller already....and a big old boy. Pretty sure that the tiny Princess will be getting a run for her money here in a few months......and right now she has no idea. ;)
So here's to big things in our future......